Between PDP and APC in Gombe: Which way forward?

On May 29 following the decision of the people on March 9 to substitute the PDP for APC in Gombe state a new administration was installed. AUWAL AHMAD examines expectations and hope of the people.

New era in Gombe

The political activities that heralded the present political structure in Gombe state is an attestation to the fact that politics world over is local and the locality of political activities is unique and depends heavily on how political parties manage their internal business.

Ostensibly, it has been established that politics is a game that requires skills and astute ingenuity if the party or individual hopes to be relevant and maintain the race towards achieving its overall objective(s). One of the political ingenuity that is required to move a political party forward lies in its ability to pay good attention to political harbingers and the colour of the water that runs under the ‘bridge’.

The substitution ideology

This is so important because the mistake of a political party can become the needed map for the opposition to trace their path to victory. The case of political events in Gombe is a tale better captured by the use of the analogy of substitution of players during a football match. When a player begins to make mistakes or deviates from the tactical formation plotted by the technical adviser, the adviser needs to make needed adjustment.

The player in question may have shown obvious sign of weakness, shrinking stamina and want of coordination and purpose in his game, then substitution becomes inevitable. It happens in politics as well. That was the case in the politics exhibited by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The players paraded in Gombe by the PDP were clearly bereft of ideas and were drifting off course. 

In their case substitution of any sort was of no avail, instead the All Progressives Congress (APC) the opposing team opted to step up its tactical formation, rebuilt and strengthened its crop of players with stamina and vim.

From the events that led to the 2019 general elections in the state, it became obvious to political watchers that it would be easier for earthworm to have survived in a bowl of salt than for the PDP to emerge victorious in the then forthcoming general elections. This understanding was reflected in the results that came to be.

PDP primaries sign post defeat

The events that culminated into the defeat that unseated PDP from Gombe state Government House could be traced to the primaries of the party. Before the primaries, the political calculations for the PDP primaries was far less as complicated as that of the APC, judging from the high ranking chieftains that took the nomination forms of the APC.

The campaign for the APC ticket was more of intriguing, suspense and analytical with fluctuating chances for every aspirant from Muhammad Jibrin Barde, Umar Farouk Bamusa, Inuwa Yahaya, Adamu Muazu, Jalo Waziri to Sen Abdullahi Umar,Khamisu Ahmed Mailantarki to Haidar Abubakar. These chieftains put together gave some political analysts in Gombe some permutations to work out as against the PDP which many saw as a two-horse race between Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna and Senator Bayero Nafada. 

These two were favoured by political prophets within and outside the state in view of the resources at their disposal. The confusion that tore the PDP apart were anticipatorily sold to the APC before the PDP eventually made the mistake of breaking the political calabash of internal party politics and god-fatherism. 

APC’s maturity connotes victory

The peaceful atmosphere that followed the APC primaries mirrored the communiqué of all APC stakeholders to desperately yet tactfully take power from the PDP. To the APC, it was one victory that was built on unity and oneness of purpose. The strange issue about the APC primaries that puzzled many till date is how the devil in the details of the paper analysis of the APC primaries were done in unity. To many, the glue that held all the stakeholders together after the election is the real reason why the party handed over to the PDP the opposition flag in Gombe State. 

If the principles of god-fatherism, impunity, injustice were still relevant in the 21st Century political architecture of Nigeria, then Gombe state presented a contrary side to that in view of former Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo’s political love affairs with Senator Bayero Nafada which was seen as a baton exchange between the political lovers to the detriment of the party’s future. That preference that eventually subverted the results of the primaries in favour of Bayero led to the highly ‘celebrated’ exit of Gwamna from the PDP to the APC.

Gwamna’s exit was highly celebrated because many of the APC supporters had envisaged a fierce election contest had Gwamna won the PDP candidacy. To many, Gwamna was more preferred for his benevolence to empowering many including giving Gombe youths jobs in Kano, Abuja and others states. He is more approachable and highly grass-rooted to traditional institution in the state, little wonder, he is the Sardaunan Gombe.

PDP in opposition

For a party like the PDP, having ruled the state for 16 years to become an opposition in Gombe state, it unravels the truth that in politics everything is possible and nothing is constant. It is not expected that a man who soaked himself in an ocean should complain of cold afterwards, this is the main reason for the PDP’s conspicuous silence in Gombe with its flag disappearing even in zones where they once held sway (Gombe South). If antecedent is anything to go by, there is this ingenuity in the PDP in terms of conflict management and resolution.

After the defeat of the PDP in 2015 at the national level, many buried the party in a deep grave with several political funeral statements that could defy any hopes of a miracle. This made many believe that the PDP may use a seat belt for a ride as opposition party. That belief was further strengthened by the crisis that cascaded several courts in the country yet the party was able to weather the storm and still gave the APC serious ache and cause for worries which culminated into President Muhammadu Buhari’s making the u-turn to visit all states of the federation so as not to take chance seating in Abuja and expecting miracles in Nsukka or in Akwa Ibom. If that expertly skill of the PDP is harnessed in Gombe state, perhaps their desert journey in opposition may just be cut short. The PDP is one party that is full of surprises and if that is leveraged in Gombe, they may not remain an opposition for long provided that the unity glue in APC loses its potency. 

APC seeming crack?

Already there are insinuations that an impending crisis looms in the APC while many have referred to that as mere political talks that are not fit for public analysis but in politics, no one can cover a smoke for too long. There are already strange publications from some members of the APC calling for the party not to consider Gwamna for any national appointment alleging that his heart is still with the PDP.

Many observers of the political rainbows in Gombe state have seen the online annihilation of Gwamna as a move allegedly triggered by party chieftains who feel Gwamna has not been in the party for too long to warrant such political appointment yet when he was spending his money to facilitate the victory for the APC no one complained he has not stayed too long in the party to spend his resources for the party. This shows already a crack in the party. 

Also, the fact that Governor Inuwa cannot reward all those who united and sacrificed all interests for the victory that made Gombe a progressive state leaves more to be desired especially taking into consideration the reasons for the defeat of PDP. The governor has equally registered his intentions going by recent events in the APC. How the APC under his leadership manages victory will keep the APC a united family.

Can PDP capitalise on the flaws

For now, PDP is looking for the flaws of the APC in how they manage the victory they now have. The future of the APC solely rest on the party leader who is now the governor and also Senator Danjuma Goje who played an unmatched role in ensuring that his bidding for Gombe state becomes the order of the day.

Goje on his part has shown to be a reliable party man from all frontiers both at the state and national levels. Having secured the state for APC, he went further to show his believe in the APC project across board through his withdrawal from the senate presidency seat that stabilised the senate as he was rumoured to be the surprised package the PDP would have given a blocked vote for.

For now, every political watcher is in school studying the APC and the PDP. The future holds details that only time can unveil but to say that the PDP has no chances of coming back to Gombe state Government House might be a hasty judgment looking at the event that trounced them out of power and the soon to be confirmed rumours of infighting and lobbying for appointments within the APC.

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